As Metro Voice gets ready to host a September tour of Israel, the Jewish State has announced that more than 4 million tourists visited the Holy Land in 2018, a 14 percent increase from 2017 and a 42 percent increase from 2016.
Those numbers are the envy of the rest of the world’s tourist hotspots.
“In 2018, we have reached an amazing and historic record with over 4.12 million tourists arriving in Israel” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said in a statement Sunday. “We have broken incoming tourism records and this achievement is the direct result of intensive work that we are doing at the Tourism Ministry. This achievement is a result of a revolutionary change in marketing strategy; infrastructure development; opening direct routes from new destinations and creating collaborations with some of the largest travel agents in the world.”
Tourism plays a major role in sustaining and growing Israel’s economy. The total revenue from tourism for 2018 is approximately 22 billion in New Israeli Shekels (about $5.8 billion).
The Tourism Ministry would like to see that number increase and Director General Amir Halevi has big hopes for 2019.
“We are optimistic about 2019 that begins with the opening of the new international airport at Timna, that will enable us to continue bringing new flights to Eilat. What was considered a fantasy a few years ago is today a reality: Israel is a preferred tourist destination among tourism destinations around the world,” said Halevi.
The country, already one of them most technologically advanced in the world, is in the middle of a building boom as new freeways, hotels, restaurants and shopping are being built to accommodate millions of tourists and citizens who are now some of the most well-off in the Western world. Israelis joke that their national bird is the crane–as in building crane.
One of the most amazing aspects of the building boom is that construction sites are uncovering previously undiscovered Biblical sites. The construction, by law, must come to a halt until officials from Israel’s archaeology community can assess the significance and breadth of the discoveries. Sometimes, the sites for proposed freeways, hospitals and apartment blocks must be redesigned or even relocated because the ruins are so extensive.
Dwight and Anita Widaman, who between them have been to Israel on over a dozen trips, are hosting a special all-inclusive Bible teaching tour to Israel from Sept. 14 thru the 24th. Named “Heartland to Promised Land” tour, the itinerary and costs can be found here.